It was exactly what the Miami Hurricanes wanted and needed.
Freshman Ken Dorsey completed 16 of his final 18 passes and threw three touchdowns in his second start as Miami beat Syracuse 45-13 on Saturday. The win not only avenged last year's 66-13 loss to the Orangemen, it also secured the Hurricanes a second consecutive postseason berth.
Dorsey completed 22 of 31 passes for 236 yards and Santana Moss scored twice to help Miami (7-4, 5-1 in the Big East) become bowl eligible. The Hurricanes needed seven wins because they played in the Kickoff Classic.
They did. Moss returned a punt for a score and caught a 16-yard touchdown pass and Clinton Portis ran for 98 yards on 15 carries, just shy of his fifth consecutive 100-yard game.
Miami fell behind 7-2 in the second quarter, but scored 43 straight points to hand Syracuse its fourth loss in five games. The Orangemen (6-5, 3-4) finished below .500 in conference play for the first time since 1993.
Moss sprinted 61 yards untouched to give Miami its first touchdown in the second quarter. Dorsey then hit Reggie Wayne on a 17-yard fade pass to extend the lead to 17-7. Earlier, Dorsey misfired three times on the same play.
Troy Nunes, one of three quarterbacks used by Syracuse, threw an interception on the ensuing drive, which Leonard Myers returned for a touchdown to give Miami a 24-7 lead at halftime.
Nunes finished 13-of-20 for 147 yards.
"When you can put 14 points on the board as fast as that scenario, it starts taking them out of some things," Davis said. "The option doesn't become as big of a factor and they have to start throwing the ball with quarterbacks who are predominantly option-oriented. Onc the score got a little bit out of hand, it certainly worked in our favor."
After adding 21 points in the third quarter, the only question remaining was whether the Hurricanes would match the 66 points Syracuse scored against them last season. That was Miami's second-worst defeat in school history. Only a 70-14 loss to Texas in 1944 was worse.
The Hurricanes did not score 66, but they tried, continuing to throw with a 32-point lead in the fourth quarter.
"That's all we were thinking about all week," Miami linebacker Dan Morgan said. "If you don't want revenge, then you shouldn't be playing football. We beat up on them tonight."
If Miami beats Temple next week, it will secure a berth in the Jan. 1 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville against Georgia Tech.
"I don't want to look past Temple because this will be their bowl game," defensive tackle Matt Sweeney said.
Despite the loss, the Orangemen likely will represent the Big East in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn., because Pittsburgh lost Saturday.
"I thought we had some momentum early in the game," said Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni, whose team missed a field goal and had a touchdown called back for holding. "And then Santana Moss returned a punt for a touchdown and at that point the momentum changed and the ball didn't bounce our way the remainder of the game.
"We could not turn the tide after that series of plays."
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